5:06 pm - Saturday November 7, 2015

Japan scientist in stem cell research scandal found dead

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A senior Japanese scientist embroiled in a stem cell research scandal has apparently committed suicide, police said on Tuesday.

Yoshiki Sasai had supervised and co-authored stem cell research papers that had to be retracted due to falsified contents.

A security guard found him suffering from cardiac arrest, with a rope around his neck, according to Riken Center for Development Biology in Kobe, western Japan. Mr. Sasai was rushed to a hospital but was pronounced dead two hours later.

Police said Mr. Sasai left what appeared to be suicide notes, but refused to disclose their contents.

Public broadcaster NHK said he had three letters, each addressed to Haruko Obokata, a co-author of the research papers, as well as senior members of the research centre and his fellow researchers.

Mr. Sasai’s team retracted the research papers from journal Nature over co-author Haruko Obokata’s alleged malpractice, which she has contested.

Riken later held Ms. Obokata, a main author of the research, responsible for falsifying data. The investigation also focused on Mr. Sasai and two other employees, though the three were not accused of research misconduct.

Mr. Sasai had said he was “deeply ashamed” over the problems in the papers.

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